When a park ranger tells two bear cubs about Christmas and Santa Claus, they want to skip hibernation to celebrate, but their mother doesn't believe in Saint Nick and wants them to sleep.
June 20, 2011
What K-otic's description says, except that it's not that Momma Bear doesn't believe, she's just never heard of him before. There's a lot of talk in this film about hibernation, but that's not all that put me in the mood. ;}
I guess this could be called a "family values" sort of film, though its intended primary audience is the children. Young children. Very young children. With the slowly spoken, simple dialogue reminiscent of a preschool reader, one sad attempt at comedy, and the simplified topics, I would suspect that a child over about six years of age would be bored to tears with it. I don't think there is too much in it to interest adults, either, unless you actually happen to have small children.
It was also for kids of the 1970's, who were more savvy (read: disillusioned) at a younger age. The story is, "despite all the cynical stuff you've heard about Santa being a legend and a fake, there really is a Santa Claus, after all."
Note the title. This film is more about Santa Claus than about Christmas, which means...prezzies!! The story of Christmas is told, but they keep it simple for the kiddies, and brief for those of us who've already heard it a time or two, even though we aren't Christian.
The film is very "toony," with all the tropes and sound effects we came to expect from watching Hanna Barbera and Walter Lantz. The animation is very much in the style of those two studios, particularly Hanna Barbera.
I didn't particularly like it, but that doesn't mean that it wouldn't appeal to its target audience, it's just not my taste in animation. The introductory song was grating on my ears with its annoying high pitches, and that is not the place to load the film with sound effects. The print is not in good condition, especially near the beginning, where images are blurry, colors are faded, and there is some "wow" or "flutter" in the sound. The digital audio is full of compression artifacts but, fortunately, these are not so noticeable unless someone is trying to sing, which happens only in the intro. A few minutes into the film, the visual does improve.
On the other side, this is traditional cel animation in a classic style, which is nearly a dying art with today's CGI stuff—bonus points for that, alone. :) It looks like they did 8 drawings per second, which is not bad as such things go—enough so that the viewer sees smooth motion, but it keeps the production within budget. (I've seen some really cheap animation that looked more like a slide show than a film.) The backgrounds were very nicely done, with lots of color and detail.
The characterizations were sweet and simple, in keeping with both the target audience and the theme of the film. Momma bear is a sweetheart, except when she suspects the park ranger may have been filling her cubs' heads with lies, when she makes me think of Kipling:
WHEN the Himalayan peasant meets the he-bear in his pride,
He shouts to scare the monster, who will often turn aside.
But the she-bear thus accosted rends the peasant tooth and nail.
For the female of the species is more deadly than the male.
The cubs are good natured, but playful and curious, which gets them into a bit of trouble here and there. They're growing up already and getting a little independent, just like the kids at home who are most likely to be watching this film. Momma is indulgent, but puts her paw down when necessary.
I know that's kind-of rambling, but I hope it will be useful. The other reviews left me wanting to write something that would actually help someone to decide whether they want to download and watch the film.
January 8, 2011
HAL SMITH FROM ANDY GRIFFITH SHOW
The park ranger is played by Hal Smith, an old family friend of my family - he has since passed away - but was a fun kind man. He played Otis, the town drunk on the Andy Griffith show for years.
December 31, 2010
Mommy lets doowopbob use the PC again
Thankfully there are people like doowopbob in the world, without such idiots the natural balance of stupidity and intellect on the earth would be completely messed up.
If everything is so negative through your eyes doowopbob, why not kill yourself now?. It would certainly save all those unfortunate people who have to meet you in the future (and everyone visiting the archive from reading your pathetic reviews).